Saturday, June 30, 2018

Shabbat Service 6-30-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on our website, on vimeo.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Coming of the Kingdom of God 6-27-2018


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International
The video version of this teaching is available at:
The scripture reading for this teaching is: Luke 17:20-37
To what can the kingdom of God be compared?  This is an often-asked rhetorical question of the Master Yeshua.  A central focus of His encounters with pilgrims on the road as well as meetings with His followers, disciples and detractors alike, is the coming of the Kingdom of God.  Their expectations were many and varied. But given the rampant corruption among the Jewish leadership along with the brutal oppression of the Roman rulers, most Jewish people of the day were looking for a conquering King to rise an army and physically defeat the Romans.  Many looked to Yeshua to be this conquering king!
In the gospel of Luke, chapter seventeen, while on the road to Jerusalem from where the Master was resting, across the Jordan where John was preaching and baptizing, Yeshua further explained the kingdom of God and how it was to be recognized.
Luke 17:20-21 NKJV 20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 "nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."
Yeshua was trying to convey to the pilgrims along the road, the exact nature of the kingdom of God.  But were his words confusing to the listener?  In saying that the kingdom would not “come with observation,” was this in keeping with the well-known scriptures about the Messiah and the kingdom of God?  What does it mean that the kingdom of God is within them?  What is the true nature of this kingdom?
Yeshua’s answer to the inquiring Pharisees in verse 21 seems, at least on the surface to contradict the descriptions of the Messianic kingdom in the scriptures as well as widely accepted traditions among the Pharisaic schools. The prophet Joel spoke of signs at the coming of the Messiah.
Joel 2:30-31 NKJV 30 "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
Is Yeshua’s statement in verse 20 of Luke 17 consistent with the voices of the prophets? Just a few verses later Yeshua said that the coming of the kingdom would be like a flash of lightning.
Luke 17:24 NKJV 24 "For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.
Well, lightning is certainly visible!  What is this kingdom of God that Yeshua speaks so often about in His parables and teachings?  It is apparent in these varying descriptions of the kingdom, that Yeshua is speaking of many different aspects of the kingdom.  All of these descriptions are in keeping with His words and with the Torah and prophets.
As we have described in previous teachings, Yeshua spoke of the kingdom in terms of a mustard seed, which is among the smallest seeds and grows to become a very large tree.  He also compared it to a small amount of leaven placed into three measures of flour.
First Fruits of Zion in their work The Chronicles of the Messiah, quote a commentary by Rabbi Lichtenstein on Luke 17:20
The kingdom of God, with the coming of the Messiah the first time and in low level, was not visible to the sight with great wonders, where everyone would understand and take note of it. But the kingdom of God in the second coming of the Messiah will come with power (Mark 9:1); and as it is written (in Luke 21:27; “They will see the son of man coming in great power and great glory.”[1]
With Yeshua’s first coming, the process of establishing the kingdom of God had begun.  It didn’t come with a flash of lightning and the sound of a great shofar.  Much like the Galilean fisherman who cast their trammel nets at night, so the fish cannot see the nets, so too the kingdom of God “is at hand” in a somewhat invisible way.  Through the work of the Messiah and the deeds of His disciples going forward through the centuries since His first coming, the kingdom of God is still being established in the world today. The net has been cast over the earth and the harvest is in progress. The kingdom of God is at hand, but not yet visible or recognized until the final redemption at His second coming.
The seventeenth century theologian, Matthew Poole in his commentary on this verse, uses a paraphrasing of Yeshua to explain the meaning:
“Men have taken up a false notion of my kingdom, as if it were to be a secular kingdom to be set up in the world, with a great deal of noise, and pomp, and splendour, so as men may observe it and gaze upon its coming. But that which I call my kingdom is not of this nature.”[2]
At this time, Yeshua is speaking to a group of Pharisees, probably a group from the Galilee region who, unlike the corrupt scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem and Judea, had come to respect and admire Yeshua of Nazareth as a gifted teacher if not fully convinced of His Messiahship. In verse twenty-one, Yeshua warns them to be on the lookout for false teachers and prophets proclaiming that the Messiah is “here” or the Messiah is “there.”
Yeshua often warned His followers about the rise of false Messiah’s and false prophets.
Matthew 24:24 NKJV 24 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
And Peter also warns his own followers:
2 Peter 2:1 NKJV 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
It was not very long after the time of the original disciples that perhaps the most infamous false prophet and Messiah arose.  In the early part of the second century of the common era, Rabbi Akiva proclaimed that a prominent leader of the second Jewish revolt against Roman rule, Shim’on bar Kosiva, commonly known as Bar Kochba, was the Messiah. This ended in a terrible disaster for the Jewish people, resulting in the near total exile of the Jewish population of Jerusalem.
With the constant questions aimed at Yeshua and His kingdom, we get a clear picture that the people were expecting the establishment of an earthly kingdom and the reestablishment of the throne of David. In Luke seventeen verse twenty-one Yeshua states that the kingdom of God is within you.
The Greek word translated as “within you”, is number 1787 in the Strong’s Lexicon, entos, meaning inside or within.  The Word Study Dictionary from AMG Publishing, further explains that the word is always used in the sense of “something located in your heart or affections, not external.”[3]  Many English translations render this word as “among you,” which indicates something external and would be a clear deviation of the Greek meaning.
Yeshua told the questioning group of Pharisees that the kingdom of God was not visible because it was within them! And He was clearly internalizing their expectations of the Messianic age.  The prophets indeed speak of an age when Messiah will reign, hearts will be transformed, Israel will be cleansed of her sins, and a new covenant established with the House of Israel and the House of Judah!
The Pharisees understood the concept of an internalized submission to the rule and reign of God.  This is reflected in the daily recitation of the Shema.  The Talmud comments on this:
“Why is the first section of the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD in one…), recited before the second section (Deuteronomy 11:13-21, “It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today…)? Because a person should first accept upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven and then take upon himself the yoke of the commandments.”[4]
Yeshua was clearly pointing them to a kingdom which could be realized and entered into here and now.  The final redemption and establishment of the physical kingdom of the Messiah spoken of so often by the prophets was part two, and is yet to come!
In the next verse, Yeshua turns His attention to His disciples:
Luke 17:22 NKJV 22 Then He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.
This was a kind of warning to His disciples and followers. Although many were beginning to understand that the kingdom of God was first a matter of the heart and would later be established on the earth, the warning was of difficult days ahead, not only for Himself, but for His disciples as well.
The Master Yeshua gave them, and us, a clear warning to be vigilant and watch out for false prophets and teachers who would take advantage of our desire for the establishment of the physical Messianic age. When He does come again to establish His earthly kingdom, there will be no doubt that He has arrived! But before that can happen, Yeshua told them that He must suffer and be rejected.  He also told them what those days before His earthly kingdom would be like:
Luke 17:25-30 NKJV 25 "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 "And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 "They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 "Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 "but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 "Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
Yeshua compared the days leading up to the establishment of His earthly kingdom to the days of the generations of Noah and that of Lot.  The parallel passage in Matthew’s gospel gives more detail:
Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV 37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Noah was considered a righteous man in the sight of God.  He was busy in the task that God had assigned him while those around him engaged in their everyday comings and goings. The description of the time of Lot is much the same. When Yeshua returns for the final redemption, people not in tune with God will be going about their daily lives, just as they always have, and will be caught off guard. Yeshua was not saying that eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage were bad or sinful.  He was just pointing out that in addition to our concerns about our daily lives, that there are more imperative things to take into consideration.
Yeshua’s warning is very much like the warning given to Lot’s family, especially his wife.
Luke 17:31-32 NKJV 31 "In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 32 "Remember Lot's wife.
In the book of Genesis, we read about what happened to Lot’s wife.
Genesis 19:17 NKJV 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed."
The skipping down to verse twenty six.
Genesis 19:26 NKJV 26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Yeshua’s warning was to be prepared.  Tribulations and trouble were ahead and all who believe must prioritize their lives and be ready on a moment’s notice.  Remember Lot and his family were nearly destroyed along with everyone else, not because they were wicked, but because they were too attached to their lives in the city. Lot and his family may not have engaged in the wicked indulgences of the city in which they lived, but they didn’t sufficiently distance themselves from it either.
It’s not an easy thing to separate ourselves from the things we have worked so hard to gain and maintain. Lot’s wife could not help but look back, and the results were disastrous for her.
Yeshua further warns His followers by giving examples.
Luke 17:33-37 NKJV 33 "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 "I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 "Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. 36 "Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left." 37 And they answered and said to Him, "Where, Lord?" So He said to them, "Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."
This passage is, for the most part, terribly misunderstood by the Christian church.  The church teaching that one person taken and another left behind as a description of the “rapture” where believers are swept up from the earth at Yeshua’s return is misleading at best.
Brenda and I did a teaching on this, which is available in Vol. 1 of our Bible study series, “Shadows of the Messiah in the Torah”.  The key to understanding the words of Yeshua in this passage and its parallel found in Matthew’s gospel, is a careful understanding of the Greek.
Although our English translations seem to indicate one group of people are taken and the other group left, the original Greek words convey a slightly different message. The English word “taken” is translated from the Greek word paralambano, #3880 in Strong’s Greek Dictionary, it means to receive near. And the word translated as “left” is from the Greek word aphiemi, #863 meaning to send forth. So one person will be received near, and the other will not be left behind, but will be sent away! Neither one really stays behind!
The apostles asked where, where will they be sent? Yeshua’s answer says they will be sent to the place where the eagles are gathered. The eagle is a carrion bird as well as a bird of prey. They will gather together at the site of many dead bodies.
Yeshua uses the phrase “depart from me” in several of His parables when talking about those who are lawless or who work iniquity. He uses “depart from me” in Matthew chapter seven when He talks about a tree producing good fruit, also in Matthew twenty five when He talks about separating those who fed, clothed, and visited the brethren in prison from those who did not, and in the parable of the talents, Yeshua sends away those He does not know.
We are reminded of the story of the rich man and Lazarus which we studied just a couple of weeks ago, where, upon their deaths, Lazarus is received to Abraham’s bosom and the unnamed rich man is exiled to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Apostle John also writes about this event in Revelation when God gathers the carrion birds to feast on dead flesh. I certainly don’t want to be where the dead bodies are! It sounds like it’s the unrighteous who are indeed sent away.
Revelation 19:17-18 NKJV 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 "that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."
And skipping down to verse 21.
Revelation 19:21 NKJV 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
We need to listen carefully to the words of our Master about the nature of the kingdom of God.  We need to understand that His kingdom is a kingdom, that is not around us, but is within us, realizing that we can take hold of His kingdom today!  We can take hold of the beginnings of the great harvest that is yet to come.  But we must also remember to prepare ourselves by being vigilant, hiding His teaching in our hearts and sharing the gospel message when we walk on the road, when we lay down and when we rise up.  Let the kingdom of God be a part of our lives each and every day, and be ready to answer His call, either to drop everything and embark of a mission at his calling, leaving our present lives behind, or answering the sound of the Great Shofar at the final redemption.
Study Questions:
1. Compare the “Be Attitudes” (Matthew 5:1-10) with the concept of the kingdom of heaven being within you.

2. Some ancient manuscripts/translations of Isaiah 54:9, including the Qumran Isaiah scroll, render the verse as “as it was in the days of Noah” instead of as in most modern translations “…as the waters of Noah…”  How do Yeshua’s words in Luke 17:26 refer to this verse and the overall passage in Isaiah 54:4-10?

3. How do we heed Yeshua’s warning about false christs and false prophets?  How are we to discern between the imposters and the real thing?  Support you answer with scripture.

4. Yeshua told other parables about receiving some and casting out others.  How does the timing of receiving and casting out relate to each other?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International.  All rights reserved




[1] Lichtenstein, Commentary on the New Testament, on Luke 17:20 as quoted by FFOZ
[2] Matthew Pool, A Commentary on the Holy Bible
[3] The Word Study Dictionary; New Testament. AMG Pub. Page 594
[4] M. Berachot 2:2

Shabbat Service 6-23-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on our website, on vimeo.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

That You May Believe


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart

The video version of this teaching is available at:
The scripture reading for this teaching is John 11:1-44

After Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah in Jerusalem, He didn’t return to the Galilee region. Instead He traveled to the place where it all began—where John baptized those coming to him with a repentant heart. While Yeshua was there across the Jordan, word came to Him that His good friend Lazarus, who lived in a village just outside of Jerusalem, was very ill.
John 11:1-3 NKJV 1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."
The region around Jerusalem was the center of power for those who hated Yeshua and sought to kill Him. However, Yeshua used this opportunity to demonstrate one last sign to the people before His crucifixion. Why would Yeshua put Himself within the reach of those who sought His destruction? What was so important about this sign?
Many people joined Yeshua while He spent time across the Jordan. The location must have brought back memories of the time John was baptizing. The people reflected that although John didn’t perform any signs, they realized that all the things John said about Yeshua were true.
John 10:40-42 NKJV 40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. 41 Then many came to Him and said, "John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true." 42 And many believed in Him there.
They would have remembered that John said he wasn’t the Messiah, but the one who came after him would be the one. They would have remembered that when Yeshua was baptized, John proclaimed that Yeshua was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. (John 1:29) They would have remembered that John said he was the friend of the bridegroom and Yeshua was the groom. They would have remembered that John testified that Yeshua came down from heaven sent by God!
John 3:31-36 NKJV 31 "He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 "And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 "He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
John, also, said that Yeshua would not be believed! But those who did believe would receive eternal life! All these memories would have been remembered and shared there in the place where it all began. They remarked that John didn’t do any signs. I’m sure they thought about the many signs that Yeshua did. The gospel of John, in fact, records six major signs that Yeshua performed so that the people would believe.
The first sign was changing water into wine at a wedding (John 2:1-10). This was followed by healing the nobleman’s son in Cana(John 4:46-53). John tells us these are the first and second signs Yeshua did. The third sign was the healing at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (John 5:1-8). Yeshua, then, fed the five thousand (John 6:1-14). Then, just that fall at Sukkot, Yeshua healed a man born blind (John 9:1-1-41). The sixth sign would involve his friend Lazarus!
It had been a tumultuous fall and early winter. While in Jerusalem for Sukkot, Yeshua declared that He was the Messiah, the source of Living Water, and the Good Shepherd. Then again at Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, while Yeshua was once again in Jerusalem, He declared that He was one with the Father. As a result, the Herodians, Pharisees, and scribes who were centered in Judea and especially Jerusalem, sought all the more to kill Him.
John 10:31-33 NKJV 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" 33 The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."
When word came from Bethany that Lazarus was ill, Yeshua waited two more days and then stated that He would go to Lazarus at his home in Judea. But, Yeshua’s disciples didn’t want Him to go to Lazarus because of the danger.
John 11:6-8 NKJV 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." 8 The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?"
Yeshua rebuked them for their fear and reminded them that He was the light.
John 11:9-10 NKJV 9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 "But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."
There are multiple levels of meaning in these three sentences of Yeshua’s. After the fifth sign of healing the blind man, Yeshua spoke of the shortness of time and the need to make the most of all the time while He was on Earth.
John 9:4-5 NKJV 4 "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
In other words, this trip to Bethany was necessary to work the works of the Father, and, as long as the daylight remained, those who were seeking to kill Yeshua would not be successful. First Fruits of Zion in Chronicles of the Messiah write:
“With these cryptic words, He encouraged His disciples not to fear the return trip to Judea. His time to suffer and be removed from the world had not yet arrived. A few hours of daylight remained, they did not need to fear stumbling so long as He (the daylight) was with them.[i]
Yeshua further explains the necessity of the trip and the work of the Father that must be done; Lazarus is already dead and Yeshua must wake him up!
John 11:11 NKJV 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up."
Then skipping down to verses 14 and 15:
John 11:14-15 NKJV 14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. 15 "And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him."
So, in spite of the apparent danger of going up to Bethany and being in the environs of Jerusalem, Yeshua knew that His purpose would be safely completed. Further, the disciples who walked with Him, the Light, would also be safe.
Thomas, convinced that Yeshua was determined to go to Lazarus, but not convinced that they would escape alive agrees to go with Yeshua.
John 11:16 NKJV 16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him."
As expected, when Yeshua and His disciples arrived in Bethany, they found Lazarus had died four days earlier and had been interred in the family burial tomb. Lazarus’ sister Martha went out to meet Yeshua as He approached Bethany. Martha’s words confirm that Martha knew Yeshua was the Messiah, the Son of God.
John 11:21-22 NKJV 21 Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 "But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."
Martha confessed that not only did she believe that Yeshua could have healed Lazarus had He been there, but she believed that there might yet be hope. Is Martha hinting or gently questioning if there was still hope that Lazarus could be restored to life as she said the words, “but EVEN NOW I Know that whatever You ask of God, God will give you”?
Yeshua deflected her words in His answer.
John 11:23-24 NKJV 23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
Martha agrees with Yeshua, almost impatiently, as if she expected a different response to her hint that Yeshua could ask anything of God. Yeshua probes her about the depth of her belief. Does she really know what she is asking and who she is asking it of?
John 11:25-26 NKJV 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 
Finally, Martha is getting the response that she sought. She affirms that she does indeed recognize who Yeshua is and what she is asking. After her response to Yeshua, she will leave and “go her way.”
John 11:27-28a NKJV 27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." 28 And when she had said these things, she went her way…”
I’m reminded of Yeshua’s conversation with His mother when He performed His first sign that indicated that He was the Messiah. Mary requested that He provide wine for the wedding guests when they ran out of wine. Yeshua never outwardly agreed that He would provide wine, but Mary’s reaction to His words tells us that His agreement was implied. Let’s look at that conversation.
John 2:3-5 NKJV 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." 4 Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
Like Martha, Mary left Yeshua and expected that Yeshua would act. Did Mary know what she was really asking and who she was asking if of? We have to conclude that both Mary, mother of Yeshua, and Martha, sister of Lazarus, knew what they were asking and who they were asking if of, and that Yeshua’s words conveyed both His understanding of their knowledge and agreement to act as they requested. Mary went away convinced that Yeshua would provide wine. Martha left Yeshua’s presence at peace. She had achieved what she sought.
After leaving Yeshua, Martha sent Mary to Yeshua. Mary was consumed by her grief and throws herself at Yeshua’s feet even as she also states that she knew that Yeshua could have healed Lazarus.
John 11:32 NKJV 32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
Mary’s headlong flight to reach Yeshua’s side was observed by the other mourners; and they followed her. Like Mary, they were also weeping in their grief. Yeshua could not help but respond to their grief with grief of His own.
John 11:33 NKJV 33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.
Yeshua’s response was not exactly what we expect. Why was He troubled? We need to look at the Greek behind our English translations to see deeper into Yeshua’s reaction. The word for “groaned” is em-brim-ah'-om-ahee, #1690 in Strong’s Concordance. It means to snort with anger or indignation. Why was Yeshua’s reaction anger or indignation? First Fruits of Zion in Chronicles of Messiah writes:
“If the Greek must be translated literally, the object of the Master’s anger must be understood to be death, not the mourning sisters or the weeping visitors. Our Master may have felt a personal anger toward that great enemy—the last enemy—who had caused such grief and stolen away His beloved friend.”[ii]
Yeshua was angered or indignant that death had taken his friend. More, Yeshua was angered at death itself!  The Greek grammar in the second part of the sentence in verse 33 is not “and He was troubled.” The Young’s Literal Version translates the phrase as, “And He troubled Himself.” The word translated as “trouble” is tarasso, #5015, meaning to stir, agitate or trouble. Yeshua stirred himself to action.
Yeshua asked to see where Lazarus was laid and when He saw the tomb, Yeshua wept.
John 11:34-36 NKJV 34 And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!"
Verse 35, “Jesus wept,” is one of the more powerful verses of the Bible. Jesus, the Son of God wept for the death of his close friend. However, when we understand that Yeshua was angry at death and that He knowingly allowed Lazarus to die, so that “you may believe,” we can see that Yeshua is not just weeping for Lazarus, his beloved friend. Yeshua is weeping for all those who die. We are beloved of Yeshua, and He weeps for our physical death and the grief it brings to our loved ones. But it goes even deeper; He weeps for the deaths all those whom He loves who never believed and never loved Him back. He weeps for those who will not experience eternal life!
Yeshua called for the stone to be removed from Lazarus’ tomb. At that moment, even Martha’s faith wavered a little, but Yeshua quickly reassured her referring back to their earlier conversation.
John 11:39-40 NKJV 39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?"
After the stone was removed, Yeshua addressed His Father out loud so that all those gathered around would know that He speaks to the Father and confirming Martha’s testimony that whatever Yeshua asked of God, He would do.
John 11:41-43 NKJV 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 "And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!"
At was for this moment that Yeshua braved the threat of arrest and death to come up to Bethany and resurrect Lazarus. It was so that those who witnessed Lazarus’ resurrection would believe. Isaiah wrote of the Messiah’s authority over death.
Isaiah 25:8-9 NKJV 8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. 9 And it will be said in that day: "Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."
When Lazarus came forth from the grave, Yeshua commanded that He be “loosed” from the grave clothes. Death no longer had a hold on Lazarus!
John 11:44 NKJV 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."
For those of us, like Martha, who believe in Yeshua and testify that He is the Messiah, the Son of God who is to come into the world and that, for those who believe in Him, death has no hold on us. Hosea tells us that God ransoms us from the dead.
Hosea 13:14 NKJV 14 "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.
Paul wrote about the fulfillment of these prophecies in Isaiah and Hosea.
1 Corinthians 15:52b-55 NKJV 52 For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
At the time Yeshua raised Lazarus from the dead, Light was still in the world, but the time was short. As soon as spring arrived, Yeshua would go boldly up to Jerusalem knowing that He would be crucified, knowing that He would die. The seventh and final sign in the gospel of John would be Yeshua’s own resurrection from the dead. All these signs Yeshua did so that you may believe.
Study Questions:
1. The teaching referred to multiple meanings of Yeshua’s comment about light in the world in John 11:9-10. Read Psalm 121:1-3. What is another level of meaning when paired with this passage in Psalms?

2. The seven signs in the gospel of John form a chiastic structure. These signs are:
         A. changing water into wine at a wedding (John 2:1-10)
       B. healing the nobleman’s son in Cana(John 4:46-53)
   C. healing at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (John 5:1-8).
D. Feeding the five thousand (John 6:1-14).
   C. healing a man born blind (John 9:1-1-41).
       B. Resurrecting Lazarus.
A.  Yeshua’s own resurrection

    What does this chiasm reveal about Yeshua’s goal “that you may       believe?”

3. Yeshua resurrected a total of three people other than Himself. Resurrecting Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:22-24, 35-43, the son of a widow of Nain in Luke 7:11-17, and the healing of Lazurus in John 11. Compare these events.

4. What does Yeshua’s anger against death reveal about the exile of Adam from the garden of Eden?

5. After raising Lazarus from the dead, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered a council to discuss what to do about Yeshua. (John 11:45-53) How did the resurrection of Lazarus “seal” Yeshua’s fate in terms of the council? In what way did God use Caiaphus and why?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved.




[i] Chronicles of the Messiah. Lancaster, D. T. First Fruits of Zion. ©2014. Page 1109.
[ii] Ibid. Page 1116.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Shabbat Service 6-16-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on our website, on vimeo.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

The Covenants of the Priesthood - Part 7

Part 7 of our Erev Shabbat Bible Study series, "The Covenants of the Priesthood covers the Sons of Zadok.

 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Rich Man and the Poor Man


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International
The video version of this teaching is available at:
The scripture reading for this teaching is Luke 16:19-31
In Luke’s gospel, chapter 16 verses 19 through 31 we find the puzzling parable of the rich man and Lazarus, a poor man. I suppose no two people could have less in common. While the rich man wore the finest of apparel, the poor man wore rags and suffered from disease with open sores.
Luke 16:19-20 NKJV 19 "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 "But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
During this trip to Jerusalem following the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah, Yeshua taught using many difficult parables.  How are we to interpret these difficult to understand words of the Master?  How do we put ourselves in the minds of the disciples and Pharisees of Yeshua’s day to receive His words as they would have?
In this parable of the rich man and Lazarus, we see the genesis of much of the traditional Christian theology regarding heaven and hell; where one goes after he dies; to judgment, torment, or paradise.  The traditional church has, for centuries, espoused a doctrine of Satan as the ruler of an underworld of tormented souls. This imagery permeates our popular culture to this day. The author and Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis used this imagery in his allegorical novel “The Great Divorce” describing hell as a place with “horns, pitchforks, and people sizzling on grids.”  Such imagery is certainly frightening, even to rational adults, but is it accurate?
We at Moed Ministries believe that to properly understand the scriptures, one must understand the times is which it was written and who it was written to.  In other words, linguistic, cultural and historic perspective is critical to understanding the many difficult teaching of the Master Yeshua as well as the rest of the scriptures.
The seventeenth century Christian theologian, Jonathan Lightfoot was perhaps an early example of a Hebrew Roots teacher using this approach to understanding and interpreting scripture. His arguments were that one should not attempt to interpret Yeshua’s words in light of common and accepted Christian theology of the present but strive to understand them as the disciples and Pharisees would have understood them.
There is a treasure of wisdom in Yeshua’s words to His listeners contained in this parable of the rich man and Lazarus from which we can draw many lessons.
The parable goes out of the way to mention the type of clothing the rich man wore, as we saw in verse 19.  The color purple was unusual in the ancient world, usually reserved for royalty because of its expense.  So this would be a very wealth man for the time.  The beggar on the other hand, was obviously very poor and destitute and suffering from a chronic injury or disease.
Luke 16:21 NKJV 21 "desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
The parable jumps ahead quickly and relates that both parties died, both the rich man, and the poor beggar.
Luke 16:22 NKJV 22 "So it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
These verses provided the early Christian church with an interesting teaching or doctrine; that of a place called “limbus partum”, or in English “Limbo of the Fathers.”  This being what is referred to in the scripture as “Abraham’s Bosom.” The word Bosom here is the Greek word kolpos, #2859 in the Strong’s lexicon meaning a bosom. It implies to be in someone’s embrace or care.  Such as a parent holding a child in their lap.
This Limbus Partum doctrine, which permeates much of Catholicism and many Protestant churches and dates from medieval times, says that it is the place where the Old Testament saints resided prior to being freed by Yeshua at His resurrection.  This interpretation and subsequent doctrine further enhanced replacement theology by allowing the Old Testament righteous men and women of the Bible to have access to the New Testament salvation and at the same time keeping most Jews out of heaven altogether.
Having grown up in mainstream Christianity, the Episcopal church specifically, I remember the words of the “Apostle’s Creed” which supports this doctrine.  It says in part:
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead…” (some translations say descended into hell)
Lightfoot’s premise is essentially correct; we need to understand the words of the Master in the context of first century Judaism.  We need to understand what the terminology that He used, meant to His disciples and to the Pharisees and others present. First Fruits of Zion, in their work “The Chronicles of the Messiah” explain:
“Despite the popularity of the teaching, it has never been an official church doctrine. Nevertheless, it survives in Protestant thought. Christ’s “harrowing of hell” remains a common belief among Catholics and Protestants both… Some explain that the enigmatic resurrection described in Matthew 27:52-53 (where the graves were opened upon Yeshua’s death on the cross) as the transition point at which the souls of those Old Testament saints were released from “Abraham’s Bosom.”[1]
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus acknowledges the existence of man’s immortal soul, a common and basic tenet of Pharisaic theology.  When someone dies, the soul leaves the body and goes to reward or punishment.  In the case of reward, the word used is paradise in our English bibles.  It is derived from a borrowed Persian word, “pardes.”  In both Greek and Hebrew, it means the place of the soul’s reward after death.
Going to Abraham’s Bosom is a Jewish idiomatic term for going to paradise. The parable describes the soul of Lazarus being carried by angels to Abraham’s Bosom.  Rabbinic literature speaks of angels escorting souls of the righteous to paradise.
“When a holy man leaves this world, three companies of angels attend him”[2]
Yeshua’s words in the opening verses of this parable would have been very familiar to His listeners as he spoke these common idioms of first century Judaism.  The paradise to which Lazarus was carried was not understood to be a limbo state of existence. If we understand this then we are better equipped to correctly understand the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 5:7-8 NKJV 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
Also, the words of John in Revelation:
Revelation 6:9-10 NKJV 9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
As we continue in the parable, verse 23, turns attention to the fate of the rich man.
Luke 16:22b-23 NKJV 22 …The rich man also died and was buried. 23 "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
The typical Christian concept of hell or hades comes directly from Greek mythology.  FFOZ’s The Chronicles of the Messiah explains:
“One can visit the realm of the dead with Orpheus to discover a place of misery and torment ruled by the despotic Greek god Hades; hence the name.”[3]
Perhaps because of the unfortunate use of the term hades to translate the Hebrew Sheol in the Septuagint, the third century BCE translation of the Hebrew Bible to Greek, the traditional Christian church has had the long-held belief of a kind of kingdom called hell ruled over by Satan.  However, in the Hebrew understanding, the soul’s of the dead go down to Sheol, which is a spiritual place for the disembodied human souls and is a simple Hebraic metaphor for the grave.  Sheol is not hell in the same sense as the Greek hades.  This understanding of the difference between the Greek Hades and the Hebrew Sheol, also helps us better understand the words of Paul and John.
Another Hebrew term that we run across from time to time is Gehenna, which is a transliteration of the Hebrew words gei (gay) and Hinnom.  It literally means “the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom.  The Hinnon Valley in Jerusalem has the same root word origin.  In Rabbinic literature, Gehenna is associated with torment and is referred to as a place in, or a part of Sheol.  At the time of the Judean kings, the Hinnon Valley was a place where apostate Jews who worshiped the pagan god Molech, sacrificed their children. Subsequently, Hinnom Valley became known as a place of torment.
The prophet Jeremiah condemned the practice, saying that one day the valley would be referred to as “the place of slaughter.”  For reasons unclear, the Hinnom Valley took on an association with the netherworld and a place of torment of souls in Hebraic mysticism.
In Pharisaic theology, Gehenna is a place of purgation, very similar to the Catholic concept of purgatory. The apostolic view is that there will be a universal resurrection of all for a final judgement.
Revelation 20:12-13 NKJV 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
Also, in Acts.
Acts 24:15 NKJV 15 "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
In the days of Yeshua, the Pharisees taught about these four concepts; the existence of the soul, paradise, Gehenna, and the resurrection of the dead.  The Sadducees on the other hand, believing in only the written Torah, which contains no specific reference to these things. They rejected all four, dismissing them as “traditions of men.”
As we look further in this parable, we see that, although separated by a great impassable chasm, those in Gehenna can see and speak to at least some in paradise.
Luke 16:23-24 NKJV 23 "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'
The rich man of this parable appealed to Abraham for mercy and relief from his torment.  In the days of the Master Yeshua, many believed that the merit of Abraham would give them a pass from the torment of Gehenna.  This is reflected in a commentary in the Talmud.
“Rabbi Levi said, “In the hereafter Abraham will sit at the entrance to Gehenna and permit no circumcised Israelite to descend therein.””[4]
Perhaps the rich man of this parable could best be understood as a Sadducee because of the answer given him to his inquiry about warning his five living brothers.
Luke 16:27-29 NKJV 27 "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 'for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 "Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'
Very similar to the teaching of the Master, the Pharisees taught that social station and rank will be reversed in the World to Come.  They generally taught that those comfortable in this world would pay in the end if they didn’t act in charity for the benefit of the less fortunate in this world.  As we have seen in pervious studies, some didn’t always practice this concept.
Yeshua wasn’t revealing any great or new divine secrets with this parable.  He was speaking to them in plane, everyday language that they would clearly understand.
All of Yeshua’s teaching contained in this parable were in keeping with the beliefs of traditional Judaism. The late 19th century Biblical scholar Alfred Edersheim commented on Yeshua’s teachings in this parable.
“For the views held at the time of Christ, what ever these views, Christ did not, at least directly, contradict, or so far as we can infer, intend to correct them.”[5]
This parable of the rich man and Lazarus is more about repentance and the result of repentance than it is about the afterlife.  The rich man had five brothers that he was now concerned about.  Did he care that much about them while he was alive?  Did this rich man speak to his siblings about repentance while he could?
Abraham’s answer to the rich man’s plea was that the brothers have the Torah and the prophets.  If they would obey the Torah and repent, it would keep them out of the predicament this rich man now finds himself.  When that didn’t work, he then implores Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers.
Luke 16:30b-31 NKJV 30 "And he said, …but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'"
These words apply to us and our world today! If we will not listen to Moses and the prophets, how will we listen to the one who comes back from the dead? Or even know who He is?
What do the various elements and characters in this parable illustrate?  How should we interpret them?
The rich man represents the greedy and self-indulgent. The sinful unrepentant person who may even be outwardly religious, but it is not what is in his heart: Lazarus is the poor and afflicted as well as the righteous: Abraham’s Bosom is paradise: Hades is Gehenna: Moses and the prophets are the revelation of scripture: Someone rising from the dead to warn others is an illustration of Yeshua’s own death and resurrection coming in just a few months after this time.
There are a multitude of lessons to be gleaned from this single parable. And we have only scratched the surface. There is the lesson about caring for the poor. Yeshua directed this lesson straight at the Pharisees who practiced a kind of public self-righteousness. Yeshua was telling them that if they wanted to reside in paradise with Abraham, then they needed to humble themselves and be a servant to those less fortunate than themselves, giving of the resources and gifts that God has blessed them with.
The parable also illustrates in a powerful way the principle of inversion. A concept the Master taught on many occasions throughout His earthly ministry; the first shall be last and the last shall be first.  The parable was also directed to the philosophy and doctrines of the Sadducees who, like the rich man’s brothers, had the Torah and the prophets but failed to believe them.  They failed to believe in the eternal soul, reward or punishment in the afterlife, and the resurrection that is sure to come.
This parable teaches us that attaining paradise in the afterlife does not require any new philosophy, religion or theological construct.  The road map to paradise was laid out before them, and it is still valid today; Moses and the prophets. And now augmented by the words of the Master!
The parable also points to Yeshua’s death and resurrection. And the main point of the parable is the same main point of Yeshua’s entire mission; Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!
Study Questions:
1. How does this parable illustrate the idea of 2 tables that we discussed last week?
“A popular rabbinic adage says, ‘Not everyone has the merit of two tables,’ meaning that some who regularly enjoy a full table in this world will not have the same privilege in the kingdom. Yeshua offered His host some advice on how he might procure the privilege of enjoying two tables.”  (quote from last week's teaching)
2. Is it possible to know Yeshua if one does not know Moses and the prophets? (Luke 16:27-29)

3. Do a word study in the 4 Gospels for the places where Yeshua uses the word “hell” (Hades).  What is the context of His usage of this word?  Does Yeshua’s use of the word better fit the Hebrew concept of Sheol or that of the Greek Hades, similar to the Hebrew Gehanna?

4. John in the book of Revelation uses the phrase “Death and Hell” 4 times, (1:18, 6:8, 20:23-24) separating or differentiating between the two terms.  What is the concept that John is trying to communicate to his readers by using the two different words in this manner?

5. What are some of the other parables or teachings of the Master Yeshua where He uses the illustration of a rich man?  How are these similar to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus?  How are they different?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved


[1] FFOZ The Chronicles of the Messiah, D Thomas Lancaster, Vol. 3 P 1087
[2] B. Ketubot 104a
[3] FFOZ, The Chronicles of the Messiah, D. Thomas Lancaster, Vol 4 P1087
[4] Genesis Rabbah 48:8
[5] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) P1061